Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Frank Meyer, Bruce Duff, and Josie Cotton about Flatten the Curve

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Frank Meyer, Bruce Duff, and Josie Cotton over the phone about their song Flatten the Curve.
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​​Punk and Alt-Rock Luminaries Release Social Distancing Single and Video For “FLATTEN THE CURVE” featuring members of Minutemen, Screeching Weasel, The Runaways, The Supersuckers, The Adolescents, Pansy Division, Josie Cotton, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, and more!
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​​”It was kind of like ‘We Are The World’ but less cheesy and definitely not a power ballad.” – Frank Meyer, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Blind House
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​​Following the release in June of the benefit track “FLATTEN THE CURVE” which features members of Minutemen, Runaways, Redd Kross, and more artists and bands from the punk, indie, and hard rock world, the wide array of contributing musicians decided to create a video to accompany the track. Sequestered and observing social distancing guidelines and rules, many of those participating in the track submitted self-shot footage for the fun and arresting video which premiered on BrooklynVegan.
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​​“This video is like a bizarre Rock ‘n’ Roll alternate reality,” says songwriter/vocalist/backing vocalist/guitarist Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Blind House) who wrote the song and directed the video. “Nowhere else would you see members of Minutemen and The Adolescents rockin’ next to members KIX and JetBoy. Where else would you see the singer of The Runaways and Josie Cotton alongside members of Fishbone, Screeching Weasel, and The Supersuckers? It’s like my whole record collection made a record together and then a video… Actually I guess they did!”
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​​FTC “Flatten the Curve”

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​​Artist Quotes:
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​​Frank Meyer / The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Blind House
​​This was a fun project to edit because all of the artists sent in videos in all sorts of formats with varying degrees of quality and clarity, so the challenge was to make it all as cohesive as possible, yet embrace the limitations. Everyone was recording in or just outside their house, so there’s all sorts of different colors, instruments, backgrounds, and setups. At first, I thought this would make it difficult to cut but then I leaned into it and embraced the concept and circumstances and realized this was a really special, unique visual experiment.
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​​Deniz Tek / Radio Birdman
​​Always happy to help out for a good cause, but as soon as I heard the track, I knew this would be a total joy to play on. It rips.
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​​Suzi Moon / LA Machina, Turbulent Hearts
​​I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to the video for “Flatten The Curve.” Even though we are separated during lockdown, this video gave the artists an opportunity to connect again in a super fun way! I love the editing and it just goes to show you how eager people are to be making art despite the stay-at-home order.
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​​Steve McDonald / Redd Kross, Melvins
​​I’m stoked to jam alongside all these bad asses and weirdos and for an undeniably worthy cause. Thank you, organizers and co-conspirators, for putting us up to it. I’d also like to thank my son for letting me rock out in his bedroom and my wife for filming the hijinks. Support this record! The human race needs the help! Much love smcd
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​​Paul Roessler / Screamers, Twisted Roots
​​Frank is some kind of weird savant; I don’t know how [Bruce] Duff mixed all those tracks, but by the end, it had tipped over from a rock song into some kind of avant garde/Glenn Branca extravaganza. I know Bruce was seriously worried about his computer handling all the data. He said it was touch and go for a while…
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​​Chris Freeman / Gay C/DC, Pansy Division
​​I got a call from Frank [Meyer] asking if I wanted to be a part of a ‘group recording session’ for a song about the state of current COVID-19 events. I’m usually going to say ‘yes’ to anything Frank or the Cheetahs are involved with, and I was honored to be asked. I sent in my parts and kinda forgot about it. I had no idea who all was going to be involved, so when I got the final mix from Bruce [Duff] and saw the list of musicians, I was floored. The song turned out killer, and I was even more honored to be included among this insane amount of talent. When I got the second call from Bruce to be part of the video, I knew I couldn’t just do a normal selfie, I had to add some production and costume changes. It was such a blast to do!
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​​Brian Forsythe / Kix, Rhino Bucket
​​Fun track to work on… I just cranked it up and went for it! Same goes for the video, it gave me the opportunity to dress up and ham it up!
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​​Brian Coakley / Blind House, Cadillac Tramps
​​When I was approached to play guitar on this project, it was an obvious no brainer! The fact that so many legends are on this recording is mind-boggling enough alone! The fact that none of us were ever in the same room together for the recording or the video? All for a great cause? That is historic!
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​​Ben Weasel / Screeching Weasel
​​I don’t usually work for free but they promised me that, once the pandemic ends, we’re all going to meet up in a big house to make an album and have adventures together! We’re in the middle of a pandemic, what the hell else am I gonna do?
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​​Savannah Pope
​​Honestly, I was genuinely psyched to find something to do aside from sobbing in the shower.
​​Set up to create awareness to prevent the spread of COVID-19, “Flatten The Curve” collected seminal and iconic rock, punk and alternative rock luminaries, celebrating the power of a community coming together to stop the pandemic.
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​​The song was written over the course of two days and the recording took one week to assemble and coordinate the full cast of characters. “Flatten the Curve” reaped the rewards from the contributions of its wealth of guests, all of whom donated their time and talent while isolated and in quarantine.
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​​Benefiting Jubilee Consortium and Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, “Flatten the Curve” will donate 100% of its proceeds equally between the charities. The Jubilee Consortium (a 501c3 impact organization) is a Los Angeles-based operation committed to creating healthy and just neighborhoods through enrichment opportunities and leadership programs that promote good health, develop leaders and offer alternatives to violence. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
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​​“Flatten The Curve” is available for streaming now via Spotify here:
​​https://open.spotify.com/album/0CgapzDdExKmprm44HeBbs?si=7Szbor_YR-Wyrir3wGd8sg
​​”FLATTEN THE CURVE”
​​Produced and mixed by Bruce Duff
​​Written by Frank Meyer
​​Pre-production by Frank
​​Engineered by all 31 participants in self-isolation home studios
​​Mastered by Paul Roessler
​​Digital cover art Cherish Alexander
​​Proceeds to benefit Jubilee Consortium and Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
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​​Performed by FTC
​​Label – FugThaCorona
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​​Drums: Steve Kravac
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​​Featured Vocalists (in order of appearance):
​​Chris Freeman (Gay C/DC/ Pansy Division)
​​Manfred Jones (Woggles/Magnificent)
​​Lisa Kekaula (The BellRays)
​​Adam Bones (The Two Tens)
​​Eddie Spaghetti (The Supersuckers)
​​Ben Weasel (Screeching Weasel)
​​Wendy Stonehenge (Glitter Wizard)
​​Cherie Currie (The Runaways)
​​Tony Reflex (Adolescents)
​​Suzi Moon (LA Machina/Turbulent Hearts)
​​Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs/ Blind House)
​​Josie Cotton
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​​Backing Vocals:
​​Adam Bones
​​Cherish Alexander (Josie Cotton Band)
​​Chris Freeman
​​Kent Holmes (Brutalists/Magnificent)
​​Frank Meyer
​​Savannah Pope
​​Ted Jedlicki (Thor)
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​​Bass:
​​Mike Watt (Minutemen/Secondmen/Stooges/Firehose)
​​Norwood Fisher (Fishbone/Trulio Disgracias)
​​Steve McDonald (Redd Kross/Melvins)
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​​Guitar:
​​Adam Bones
​​Billy Rowe (JetBoy)
​​Brian Coakley (Blind House/Cadillac Tramps)
​​Brian Forsythe (Kix/Rhino Bucket)
​​Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman)
​​Frank Meyer
​​Michelle Balderama (LA Machina/Brainspoon)
​​Ray Violet (Jesters of Destiny)
​​Rich Jones (Michael Monroe, Black Halos)
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​​Keys:
​​Aaron Minton (Prima Donna) – Theremin
​​Chris Freeman – Melodica
​​Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle/Pharaoh Overlord) – synth
​​Melanie Vammen (The Coolies/Muffs) – combo organ
​​Paul Roessler (Screamers/Twisted Roots) – piano, organ
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